According to the head of the Ukrainian state, he was “unpleasantly surprised” to learn about such a decision by Washington.
Zelenskiy called the pipeline a “real weapon” in the hands of the Russian Federation, and said he did not expect a “great country” like the United States to provide “bullets for this weapon”.
The President of Ukraine called the United States “the last outpost” on the way to the completion of the construction of Nord Stream 2.
Zelensky learned about Washington’s decision to abandon the sanctions policy regarding the gas pipeline from the media, he said, calling this information a “surprise.”
Zelenskiy believes that only America can “defend democracy in Europe and defend Ukraine” in the case of the gas pipeline. At the same time, he is sympathetic to the relationship between Washington and Berlin, on which the construction of a gas pipeline depends, which will become a “powerful political instrument” in relations between Ukraine and Russia.
AXIOS: Well, President Zelensky, I want to start with Nord Stream 2. How did you feel when
you learned that the Biden administration is waiving sanctions against the company that controls
the construction of Putin’s pipeline?
V.Z .: Well, to be honest, we were very surprised. It still seems to me that Nord Stream – 2
according to our understanding, according to the understanding of security not only of Europe, I
sure, but we understand that the United States of America as our strategic partner
that this is a weapon, a real weapon, and I speak about it openly. Weapon in hand
Russian Federation, and this is not very clear, I feel and definitely do not expect
that bullets for this weapon can be provided by such a great country as
United States. Because it is an exemplary civilization, an exemplary democracy in the world.
I have always believed that Ukraine defends exactly the same principles in Europe.
That’s why I feel like this is a decision … It’s not just that I feel it, we can actually see it …
Therefore, this decision … Unfortunately, it is definitely not aimed at supporting Ukraine.
So I said I was really surprised. I really thought that when it came to Nord
The second stream, the United States, remained, so to speak, the last surviving outpost. We understand
that only the United States is able to stop this construction. You know this was our first time
conversation with President Biden, it was a phone call and I got everything
signals. These were direct signals, and I was very happy about that. I know that we are always
had bipartisan support in the United States. But I have always said that all experts and
diplomats agreed that Biden knows Ukraine better than anyone else.
another previous, former president, which means he understands all issues and what is
most importantly, all security risks. This is why, again, we were very unpleasant
AXIOS: You used the word “surprise” several times. How did you hear about this decision?
What the Biden administration took to lift sanctions on the company building
Nord Stream? Did Biden’s team inform you in advance that they are going to do it, or did they?
should you find out about this through the press?
V.Z .: I used the word “surprised” several times, because several times I was really surprised.
Aside from the United States decision, the second surprise was that I learned about it.
through the press. I feel like … well, the relationship between strategic partners should be straightforward.
AXIOS: How did they explain this decision to you after they made it?
V.Z .: This was the third time I was surprised. I found out about it probably as
everyone else, from the briefing … I think the first briefing was given by the press secretary
President of the United States. I definitely remember the message that was conveyed at the briefing:
that Nord Stream 2 is 95% complete, therefore, to stop construction at
AXIOS: Do you believe that Biden could have stopped the completion of construction if only
V.Z .: I’m sure. I believe that even if only one percent remained, it would still be
it is possible to stop such a serious influence that Russia will have in the future in order to influence
energy security and Europe as a whole, including Ukraine. Even if there was only one percent
left, it just needs to be done. Moreover, everything is now in the hands of only the President of the United States,
and I’m sure he knows about it, and his team knows about it, they know it. Even
we sometimes hear messages such as: it was done, it was a long time ago, it should have been
stopped earlier – nevertheless, they understand everything – and they are pragmatic people – that now
when they have a great opportunity, the only one, and it is in the hands of the United States
Only America. To defend democracy. Defend democracy in Europe and defend
Sometimes, you know … sometimes this belief in the civilized world is what causes
victory. Was it possible to imagine that the army of 40 million Ukraine would be able to withstand one?
“Empires”. What chance could a country like us have, defending its territory,
his people and his sovereignty? However, I believe that we did it and still
do it every day.
Axios: What exactly could Biden have done to stop the conveyor when the last 5% is complete?
V.Z .: First, there must be a serious conversation, a serious roadmap, and this must be
joint efforts of the USA and the European Union – the participating countries
The European Union, which continues to build Nord Stream 2, and Ukraine.
AXIOS: When I talk about it with Biden’s people, they say one thing: it’s not worth it
harm their relationship with Germany, their great ally, and with which they need to work
Germany on issues like climate change, so why should we impose sanctions on them, this is
it will happen anyway, it’s not worth it.
V.Z .: I understand that the relationship between the United States and Germany is very
important. I would not want to interfere in the affairs of these two respected countries. However,
how many Ukrainians live in relations between the United States and Germany
The cost? This is my first question. Bearing in mind that both the United States and Germany understand
It is quite understandable what a significant advantage will be in the hands of Russia, I mean Nord Stream
2 – at the same time that we are doing our best to protect our country. We already
we have our own gas pipeline, and around it … of course, we are talking about gas supplies, about
energy security … but it is also … how shall I put it … it is also a powerful political tool. Until
since this pipeline is functioning, Russia is obliged to talk with Ukraine, it is obliged to talk to
Europe at one table. If they build the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline bypassing Ukraine, it will
It is clear that the time will come when Ukraine will no longer have these levers. Everything
fully aware of this.
AXIOS: I think you are saying that by making this decision, Joe Biden will get
blood on my hands …
V.Z .: Well, to be honest, I would not say that. After all, it has nothing to do with the war in
Ukraine. On the contrary, the USA has always helped us. However, what is
it is definitely true in that it can help, so that fewer people will have to suffer. This is exactly what
he has the power to influence.
Nord Stream 2 is supposed to link Russia with Germany along the bottom of the Baltic Sea. The length of the route is over 1200 km. The construction of the gas pipeline began in 2018. Since the end of 2019, the project and the companies participating in it are under US sanctionswhich have been expanded several times.
Construction was frozen in 2019 when 93% of the gas pipeline was completed, a year later, in December 2020, construction resumed… In February 2021, Gazprom stated that intend to put Nord Stream 2 into operation this year. Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 4 announced completion of work on laying pipes of the first line Nord Stream 2.
The cost of the Nord Stream 2 project is € 9.9 billion, it is financed by the Russian Gazprom and five European companies: Anglo-Dutch Shell, German Wintershall and Uniper, French Engie and Austrian OMV.
The authorities of Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia consider “Nord Stream 2” a threat to Europe’s energy security.
In February 2021 it became known that 18 European companies left the gas pipeline project “Nord Stream – 2” or are at the stage of release. The reason for this was the possible new sanctions against the project from the United States. Germany insists on completion of construction.
Joe Biden’s Administration opposed construction gas pipeline, but at the end of May Biden called the introduction of new sanctions “counterproductive from the point of view of our European relations” against Nord Stream 2, since the pipeline is “practically finished.”
Republican senators on May 20 submitted a bill to the U.S. Congress that proposes to impose sanctions against all organizations involved in the construction of the gas pipeline.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky on May 20, speaking about the planned Biden’s meeting with Putin, expressed concern that “Russia could put pressure on the United States” and sanctions against Nord Stream 2 will be lifted… Zelensky stressed that he considers such a scenario a loss to the United States and personally to President Biden.